Wednesday 15 May 2024

What do we learn from the fate of the disgraced (like Pharaoh) who remain alive in corridors of history

Anyone or any nation or civilization that disobeys the Divine Orders and ridicule His prophets and messengers, are bound to doom and ultimately perish. But their remains remain alive as sign of wrath of Allah for those who defy Him and such signs continue to "live" in the corridors of history as a sign of warning for all posterity.

We share today the 92nd verse of Surah 10 Yunus which is about the drowning and then saving of his body on Divine orders as a warning for all future generations, that anyone who even thinks of defying the Divine orders should think twice before taking any act of perfidiousness, disobedience and disloyalty to the Master of the universe.

Although the verse being shared is about the fate of the mighty Pharaoh, it applies equally to all demagogues of the world today who think a little power in their hands can let them dominate the meek and weak. In recent history, we remember Hitler for the so called genocide of the Jews, and we condemn it from every muscle in our body, yet we keep our eyes closed when the same people of Israelites who were saved by Allah, wage a far torturous genocide of the Palestinians, a people who allowed Jews into the lands presently occupied by Israel. Do we forget what is still echoing in the corridors of history?

Before our readers move on to read our selected post, it may be added here that in all history books before Islam, it is said that Pharaoh drowned when the sea met again after the safe exit of the Israelites, the mention of Pharaoh in Qur'an differs and it is clearly said that though Pharaoh drowned, his body was expelled by sea to be preserved as a sign of warning for all posterity that Allah will never spare the disobeying and merciless worldly gods and will have their names echoing forever as long as the world lives.

* Scroll down for the lessons we should learn from the fate of the disgraced

فَالۡيَوۡمَ نُـنَجِّيۡكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُوۡنَ لِمَنۡ خَلۡفَكَ اٰيَةً  ؕ وَاِنَّ كَثِيۡرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ عَنۡ اٰيٰتِنَا لَغٰفِلُوۡنَ
(10:92) We shall now save your corpse that you may serve as a sign of warning for all posterity, although many men are heedless of Our signs.

Explanation Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi:
Even today the place, where the dead body of Pharaoh was found floating, is pointed out by the inhabitants of that region. It lies on the western coast of the Sinai Peninsula and is now known by the name of Jabl-i-Fir`aun (Pharaoh's Mount). There is also near it a hot spring called Hammam-i-Fir`aun (Pharaoh's Bath), which is situated at a distance of a few miles from Abu Zenimah, where, they say, Pharaoh's dead body was found lying.

If the Pharaoh who was drowned was Mineptah, who ruled over Egypt when Prophet Moses was sent to him, his embalmed dead body is still lying in the Cairo Museum. When Sir Grafton E. Smith removed the bandages from his mummy, a layer of salt was found on the body, which was a clear proof that he was drowned in the sea.

That is, "We show Signs to the people over and over again so that these should serve as warnings and be the means of teaching them lessons, but it is a pity that they do not learn lessons even from such Signs as the dead body of Pharaoh."

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
(So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you!) Ibn 'Abbas and others from among the Salaf have said: "Some of the Children of Israel doubted the death of Fir'awn so Allah commanded the sea to throw his body – whole, without a soul – with his known armor plate. The body was thrown to a high place on the land so that the Children of Israel could confirm his death and destruction." 

That is why Allah said, ("So this day We shall deliver your..") meaning that We will put your body on a high place on the earth. Mujahid said, (your (dead) body) means, 'your physical body. "

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
These words of God became true word for word and the corpse of the Pharaoh was not accepted by the sea after he had drowned in it. It was expelled by it as an exemplary sign of God’s scourge. Later the corpse was spotted by people and they saw with their very eyes the fate of those who show rebelliousness against God. On the western coast of the Sinai desert the sites of the “Mount of the Pharaoh” and the “Bath of the Pharaoh” are memorials of this incident. Even today people living in the area which is a few kilometers up north of Abū Zanīmah point out the place where the corpse was found. In current times, among the mummified bodies discovered in Egypt it is generally believed that one of them is that of the Merneptah Pharaoh. This dead body is preserved in a museum in Cairo and invites every eye to learn a lesson from it.

… The experts of archeology may differ about the corpse whether it is of the same Pharaoh or some other one yet this fourteen century old statement of the Qur’ān about the corpse is much more trustworthy than their conjectures. In this way, God made his dead body an exemplary sign for even the Pharaohs of today but this needs eyes for observation and there is nothing more rare in this world than eyes which have insight. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 4, 84)

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
His body would remain intact, uneaten by sharks or other sea creatures. It would not be allowed to drift with the waves, but would be saved so that his end would be known to all and sundry. It may be that when others see your body they will take heed and realize that defying God and His warnings brings certain doom. They do not turn to them with open hearts and minds, nor do they consider their significance, be they evident in the great universe or within their own selves.

Having gone through the historical perspective and mentioning the narration as given out in Qur'an, let us see what can we learn from this episode:

Pharaoh's refusal to heed the warnings of Moses (in fact the Divine Warnings conveyed to Pharaoh through Prophet Musa) and his stubbornness in holding onto power despite the plagues sent by God are often seen as examples of arrogance and hubris. This can serve as a lesson about the dangers of pride and the consequences of refusing to acknowledge one's mistakes.

The drowning of Pharaoh (and later expulsion of his body from the sea) and his army serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of oppression and injustice. It underscores the idea that those who oppress others will ultimately face their own downfall.  

The story highlights the power of faith and obedience to Allah. Moses and the Israelites trusted in promise of Allah and His deliverance, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This can be seen as a lesson in the importance of trust and obedience in one's spiritual journey.

The event is often interpreted as an act of divine justice. Pharaoh's oppression of the Israelites and his refusal to release them from slavery led to his downfall, illustrating the idea that ultimately, justice will prevail. 

 Today we see people of Kashmir and Palestine being denied justice and are forcibly being subjugated, tortured, denied of all human rights, to an extent of robbing them of their homes and denying food and water, even the much needed medical facilities for those who are victims of brute force and merciless bombing and inhuman treatment. 

The Exodus story serves as a symbol of liberation and redemption. The drowning of Pharaoh and the subsequent freedom of the Israelites represent the triumph of good over evil and the possibility of liberation from oppression. This should serve as a cue for those struggling for independence from the clutches of inhuman masters to continue to strive for their freedom, for one day all bondages are let loose, if one has faith in Allah and His promise of deliverance.

Let us then, sister and brothers in Islam, be faithful to Allah and do not extend our stature longer than ours and be always thankful to Allah, lest any act that smacks of disobedience or disloyalty have us stumbled to live in disgrace. 
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Resource Reference: ChatGPT

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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